Awesome Quora #22: What kind of people should not be entrepreneurs?

Preamble

I read Quora questions/answers regularly and I bookmark a lot of them.

So in the spirit of redistributing and having an easier access to my favorite stories over there, I decided to publish them on a daily basis here.

The following question and answer were the best I glanced over for the day.

Actually, this is the second time I’m posting this question, just that it’s a different answer today.

As I always recommend in my Conclusion sections in this series, I read other answers to a question I like because some new and better ones may have popped up.

About 2 weeks ago, right after publishing Hector Quintanilla‘s answer to this same question, I read the following answer and decided to bookmark it.

Today, I stumbled upon it again and I felt like it was the one. Enjoy.

What kind of people should not be entrepreneurs?

The following answer is by Anders Östlund to this particular question.


To become a successful entrepreneur a person has to have many character traits that are not common among the general population and he must also be able to withstand some of the feelings and behaviours that are generally what society consider signs of success. The below characters traits are very common in society but for an entrepreneur they can be disastrous.

Risk Aversion

If you are afraid to put yourself in front of your potential clients by bringing your goods to the market you have already failed and if you need investors but are afraid they will reject you it will hamper your business’ growth and development. If you are risk averse you should probably avoid running a business altogether.

Prestige

If you have to show off and express your success through luxuries and other symbols of status it will cost you resources you could have and probably should have invested in meeting the needs of your clients and this can cause your business to fail.

Pride

If you feel you are too important to deal with and work with the simpler tasks of your business operation and therefore hire people to do this work for you it will consume resources you could have and should have used to build the foundation of your business. You will also miss out on important knowledge about your business, which increase the likelihood of you making mistakes and these mistakes can cost you clients, effectiveness and efficiency.

Lack Of Focus

Entrepreneurs who cannot decide on what to focus on but have side jobs, continuously start new projects and launch new products and services despite not yet making money on any of them will likely burn the capital they have before having operational profits and therefore they might risk bankruptcy due to a very bad cash flow. Doing everything half good is exactly the same as doing nothing really good at all.

Need For Life Balance

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur you can forget about social balance and should not feel about forgetting it. If long vacations sleep-in mornings, weekends at the golf course, culture events with your partner, watching your children or other distractions are important for you to function as a person you are not an entrepreneur. All these joyful activities that makes a life complete are not for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs don’t live complete and balanced lives.

Lack Of Endurance

It takes an enormous effort and usually much longer time than initially expected to build a successful business. The stories about immediate success that have become urban legends are based on cases so rare that there is a greater chance of becoming rich by buying a lottery ticket. Entrepreneurs who are unwilling or unable to work hard for a long time even when it feels like the business is about to go under are not likely to become successful but rather likely to lose speed and succumb due to inactivity and exhaustion.


The above answer is by Anders Östlund to this particular question.

Side Notes

I think this answer is outrageously underrated.

I believe if one can get themselves to shun the above character traits, they can go very far in life.

I’m not there yet. I know, however that I’m making the right progress towards it.

Here’s my current status for each one of them:

  1. Risk aversion:
    • This has always been one of my biggest strengths. I love taking calculated risks. I won’t feel like I lived for the day if I didn’t put a healthy dose of pressure on myself. I personally think that you cannot be a pragmatic person if you are risk averse.
  2. Prestige:
    • Another one of my strengths. I am not an attention seeker - except when I’m selling my services or dancing ;) - and I don’t do things for the approval of others. Not even my parents. I purchase things that help me get better (online courses, ebooks, productivity SaaS tools, high quality stuffs that are durable, and so on). This allows me to provide prestige to my clients through high quality services.
  3. Pride
    • To me, this one is the devil!!! I try to stay away from it as much as possible but it keeps coming back. I recently understood the importance of staying away from it by participating in all aspects of the project of a client. No complaints, only partially outsourcing stuffs. Needless to say, I understand the whole project even better and managed to even build a system around it.
  4. Lack Of Focus
    • If Pride is the devil, this one is its son and it’s often the reason we go astray as entrepreneurs. FOCUS. I came to the realization that it’s not that I cannot manage multiple projects at once, it’s just that I’m doing way too much in all of them. This is the advantage I get for having a system. What I did is, I focused on building that system for a while, then I figured out how I could reuse it efficiently… gradually. Not all at once.
  5. Need For Life Balance
    • I figured this one out pretty early in life. When I was around 15-16 years old. Probably because at this time I started living with my father who was very entrepreneurship oriented at the time. You simply cannot be the best (or at least one of them) at anything without sacrificing the balanced life. I personally think the balanced life is for the average person:
      • a stable relationship (except when I find the true one… or one close to it enough to weaken me for a while)
      • regular outings with friends
      • regular family calls and visits
      • vacations

I am NOT trying to be average.

  1. Lack Of Endurance
    • About three years ago, when I was leaving my father’s place to start living on my own, he told me “Nick, you’re going to fail”. I told him “I know. To me, this is what it means to live. I just hope you’ll be there for me in my hardest times”. Dad, if you ever read this, I lost count of my failures a long time ago. I also lost count of my burnouts. I knew those moments would pass and after each one of them, I would get better and would increase my threshold limit. I’m constantly and consistently improving through my failures, thanks to the base mental strength I got from my parents.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this answer as much as I did.

I really recommend you check out other answers to this question on Quora. I may have read it a long time ago and some new and even better answers may have popped up since.

If you don’t use Quora, feel free to leave a comment down below about this answer.